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Magellan AI Reports March Brought 9% Jump In Spending By Podcasting’s Biggest Ad Buyers.

Podcast advertising benefited from a combination of seasonal spending patterns and a bit more optimism among some advertisers last month as Magellan AI reports the top 15 advertisers in the medium spent $48.48 million. That was nine percent more than the top 15 brands spent during February. It was also 32% more than the top 15 spent during the same month a year ago.

The latest update shows March was the strongest month of first quarter for podcast advertising, as is traditionally the case. Overall, Magellan says more than $141 million was spent during Q1 by the biggest podcast ad buyers.

The top advertiser remained the same in March as a month earlier, led by Teledoc Health, the parent of the online mental health company BetterHelp. It increased its podcast ad spending by six percent month-to-month as Magellan AI estimates it spent $8.4 million on podcast ads. BetterHelp ads ran on 955 different shows with Comedy among the brand’s most-used genre.

Amazon returned to second place last month, as its podcast spending rose 22% to more than $6 million. It used Sports category shows more than any other, similar to what No. 3 advertiser HelloFresh did. Magellan AI says HelloFresh increased its spending 25% to an estimated $5.4 million last month.

The sports betting company Flutter Entertainment, which rode the Super Bowl up to second place in February, slid back to No. 4 in March as it trimmed its spending five percent month-to-month.

Progressive insurance rounded out the top five with an estimated $3.3 million in podcast ad spending, or a third more than it spent during February according to Magellan AI’s estimates. That increase is especially noteworthy since Progressive has been pulling back on its digital ad spending overall. B. Riley Securities analyst Daniel Day says that his research has turned up that Progressive “has fully turned off” digital ad spend in more than 30 states, including California, Florida and New York, with only a “modest amount” of ad dollars still flowing to smaller states.

“We have heard the messaging from Progressive indicates it could be a while -- likely at least months rather than weeks -- before any material digital ad spend resumes,” Day said. In an update to clients, Day said the focus of the cuts has been on those ads aimed at acquiring new auto insurance customers with claims rising well in excess of pricing and many policies are unprofitable in the current pricing environment.

Across the top 15, the Sports genre was the most-used by 12 of the top 15 advertisers according to Magellan AI’s estimates. Three other advertisers spent most of their money in the Comedy genre.

Fast good giant McDonald’s tops Magellan AI’s monthly movers and shakers list – a tally of the brands that increased their podcast spending the most during the month. It says McDonald’s had a nearly eight-fold increase in its podcast ad spending between February and March as it spent more than $2 million in the medium last month. That made it the ninth-largest podcast advertiser as Magellan AI says it ran ads on 1,352 different podcasts – more than any other brand in the top 15. McDonald’s most-used show category was Sports however.

One of the biggest movers was from Activation Blizzard, the company behind video games like Candy Crush, Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. It spent nothing in February but then bounced back with $667,000 of podcast ad spending in March according to Magellan AI estimates.

The ranker also reflects what could be a comeback form auto advertising after three years of empty dealer lots sapped away spending in that ad category. Magellan AI says Chevrolet more than tripled its podcast ad spending last month as it put nearly $400,000 into podcast ads.

Magellan analyzes podcast advertising data from the top 3,000 podcasts in the U.S., as ranked by Apple Podcasts. Magellan AI’s proprietary model is used to estimate advertising spend. It includes factors such as the number of ads and variation in ad load detected for a given episode, number of downloads for each episode, and estimated CPMs as reported in select media kits and estimated based on popularity.

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